The Environment Agency has kept 70 flood warnings in place today following two days of heavy rain which is said to have caused a major ground subsidence incident near Newcastle.
Residents of Spencer Court in Newburn were evacuated safely by the fire services after the incident, which left the piled foundations of the block of flats exposed. It is believed that a failed culvert close to the site led to flooding that triggered the ground collapse and the fire services have remained on site as further collapses have not been ruled out.
At present the flats are supported by the piles but local authority engineers have warned that the building could collapse at any time.
Further rain is expected and the Environment Agency has two medium flood risk warnings along the river Ouse in north east England where water levels remain high. Flood risk across all other rivers in the north east, north west, and along the River Severn have been downgraded to low, the Agency said.
Heavy rain over the past two days has also caused havoc on the rail network, with flooding on the railway line between Blackpool North and Preston, as well as the East Coast Main Line north of Newcastle. Services have now resumed, but severe delays are still affecting the East Coast Main Line according to National Rail.
The Agency said it expected to remove all flood warnings by Friday.
ICE director general Nick Baveystock urged the government to unlock more investment in flood defences.
“As recent events have shown, Britain and its infrastructure networks remain at severe risk of flooding and we will continue to face the challenges and consequences of severe rainfall until action is taken,” said Baveystock.
“This includes setting in place appropriate levels of funding to enable our communities to adopt a wider range of measures that are not solely reliant on conventional flood defences. Lead local flood authorities which now have responsibility for flooding must be properly supported to deliver this.”